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How much faster is the "Late 2007 Santa Rosa" MacBook Core 2 Duo compared to the "Mid-2007" MacBook Core 2 Duo?
Please note that all systems mentioned in this Q&A have been discontinued. The "Late 2007" MacBook Core 2 Duo models were replaced on February 26, 2008 by the "Early 2008/Penryn" MacBook Core 2 Duo models.
In Apple-published benchmarks, the company shows that the "Late 2007 Santa Rosa" 2.2 GHz MacBook "Core 2 Duo" models are "up to" 40% faster than the original MacBook "Core Duo" 2.0 13-Inch models in real-world tests. However, it is important to note that this is compared to the original MacBook models, rather than the "Mid-2007" MacBook Core 2 Duo systems that the "Late 2007 Santa Rosa" models replaced.
The "Late 2007 Santa Rosa" MacBook Core 2 Duo systems -- the MacBook "Core 2 Duo" 2.0 13" (White - Santa Rosa), "Core 2 Duo" 2.2 13" (White - Santa Rosa), "Core 2 Duo" 2.2 13" (Black - Santa Rosa) -- look nearly identical compared to their predecessors, but the high-end models have modestly faster processors (2.2 GHZ compared to 2.16 GHz) coupled with faster "Santa Rosa" based motherboards with 800 MHz frontside buses (up from 667 MHz), Intel GMA X3100 integrated graphics (up from the Intel GMA 950), and official support for 4 GB of RAM.
With a faster motherboard design, one would expect that the "Late 2007 Santa Rosa" models would be faster than the models that each replaced, even if the same processor was used, but how much faster requires real-world testing.
Tested with version 5 of Speedmark, Macworld ’s standard performance benchmark test -- a new version that coincides with the release of OS X 10.5 (Leopard) -- the 2.2 GHz MacBooks outpaced the older 2.16 GHz models by about 4 percent. Interestingly, the top of the line models matched or exceeded the 2.2 GHz MacBook Pro with overall scores of 185 and 186 compared with the MacBook Pro’s 185.
In an in-depth review, the always excellent ArsTechnica compared a MacBook "Core 2 Duo" 2.2 13" (Black - Santa Rosa) to recent iMac and MacBook Pro models equipped with 2.4 GHz Core 2 Duo processors in a battery of synthetic benchmark and application tests.
The extensive data should be evaluated in its entirety, but ArsTechnica found that in processor intensive benchmarks "the 2.2 GHz MacBook is 10 percent slower than the 2.4 GHz iMac and MacBook Pro, and its scores were 10 percent worse" and in application tests the results were more mixed, but "for the most part, the little MacBook has held its own".
Not to be outdone, the also excellent BareFeats tested the MacBook "Core 2 Duo" 2.2 13" (Black - Santa Rosa) to a MacBook from the previous series with a 2.16 GHz Core 2 Duo processor (and the pre-Santa Rosa motherboard), as well as MacBook Pro models with 2.2 GHz and 2.4 GHz Core 2 Duo processors (and a Santa Rosa-based architecture) and concluded that:
If you are running apps that are purely CPU crunching, the 13" Macbook 2.2 GHz C2D "Santa Rosa" really does match closely the performance of a similarly clocked MacBook Pro. And the expandability to 4 GB is helpful with memory hungry apps like Photoshop and Compressor.
Also see: How much faster are the Intel GMA X3100 graphics provided by the "Late 2007 Santa Rosa" MacBook Core 2 Duo compared to the Intel GMA 950 in previous models? Is gaming performance improved?